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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  October 6, 2013 7:00am-9:01am PDT

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>> announcer: this is education nation, the student town hall, from the new york public library in midtown manhattan, here is melissa harris-perry. >> good morning! today, we are coming to you live from the beautiful bartos forum at the historic new york public library in the heart of midtown manhattan. we are bringing you a very
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special edition of mhp show. the education nation student town hall. education nation is now in its fourth year, and i am thrilled that for the second year in a row, we will be focused on what matters most to the students, the problems they face, and their ideas for how to solve them. now, joining me on stage and in the audience today are students from across the country, ranging in age from about 13 to 25. and for the next two hours, we will hear from many of them. to help with that task, two of my colleagues are in the house. working one side of the room is co-host of msnbc's "the cycle." krystal ball. hi, krystal! >> hey, melissa. good morning. >> and over on the other side, msnbc anchor, mara schiavocampo. hey, mara! >> good morning, everyone. >> now, they're going to be coming around and taking questions and comments from our student audience throughout the show. and today, just this once, i'm
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going to let you guys do something that i never let my students do. you can use your phones in class. we want to know your reactions, your thoughts, and especially your ideas in response to what you're going to be hearing today. feel free to use social media and keep the conversation going on twitter. you can use two different hashtags. you can use the educationnation hashtag, and you are a mhp tweeter, you can use #nerdland. what it takes. three big words that encompasses the big task of setting students up for success in school, college, career, and beyond. and in 2013, no one showed us what it takes more than the students themselves. in cities across the country, we saw students raise their voices and take the lead, using activism to activate for education reform. and here is just a sense of what some of those voices had to say.
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>> no education -- >> no life! >> no education -- >> no life! >> this policy will do nothing at all to improve our education. many students need a diploma to make it through life. >> save our schools! save our schools! save our schools! >> students sit on the floor, sharing bus, there's not enough room for the kids to be in the classroom. there's a classroom that has 32 kids where we used to have 15 kids in a class.
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>> we are not going down without a fight! you should be supporting these schools! education is our right! that is why we have to fight! education is our right! that is why we have to fight! education is our right! that is why we we have to fight! >> i have a few of those student protesters here on stage with me today. joining me now is an 18-year-old junior in philadelphia and a member of the philadelphia student union. also, ross floyd, a 16-year-old junior at jones college prep in chicago, and co-founder of the chicago student's union. noah rosenplot, an eighth grade student at hoister adams's bilingual school in washington, d.c. and calder mckay, a 17-year-old student at classical high school
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in providence, rhode island, an executive board member of the providence student union. thanks to all of y'all for being here. >> thanks for having us. >> all right. shake it off. because y'all are here in part because you already demonstrated that what we need to know about education reform comes from students themselves. so talk to me. what are the big challenges in philadelphia that led to so many students protesting this year? what is it that y'all felt the need to be organized about? >> mostly, the fact that we're not being priority in the eyes of our governor, who is in charge of funding our public education. and because of the lack of funding, we aren't able to have a lot of things, such as teachers and nurses and counselors and sports and arts and music and all this great things that go into schools and make schools what they are. >> so, nuwar, i pretty regularly
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have conversations with adults on my show about the notion of education funding. and i've had folks push back and say, we spend more than anyone else, we spend tons of money on education. how could it possibly be a money problem? how would you respond to that? >> well, obviously, it's not their main priority, even if they do spend a lot of money, they might not spend enough, or they might be taking money from it. for instance, our governor, he took about $1 billion from public education statewide and, meanwhile, philadelphia itself, has a $300 million deficit, and he's failing to give us the money to fix this deficit. >> all right. hold that for a second, because i want to keep thinking about this idea of money. but then i want to talk to you a little bit, because i know chicago and i know jones. and i'm thinking, jones is one of those schools that is held up as one of the best schools in a city where sometimes people talk about the problems of a school. what in the world would you have to protest, given that you are a
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jones student? >> right. i think the issue is chicago and what makes chicago so great is that we're a city of communities and we stand together. so although jones wasn't affected in the education crisis that's going on in chicago, 49 elementary schools were. this past school year, 49 elementary schools were closed in chicago. that means kids as young as 8 years old are having to cautious really dangerous gang lines, just to receive a free public education. and when i and my students i work with and everybody and we see it and know it's not right, but we have to stand up. because you have to constantly ask the question, what if it was jones that was closed, you would want people to go out and march for you. >> this is a sense of solidarity among students, even if it's not necessarily your school. >> yes. and it's what's knowing what's right. when you see 49 public schools being closed and at the same time charter schools are coming in and teachers are being fired and $90 million is being cut from our budgets, you know in your heart that's not right and i personally have to do something about that. >> let me ask on this question
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of what it takes, given that we know something about -- i've heard something about funding. i've also heard about the question of solidarity, whether it's your school being closed. it was in the case of asean johnson we all got to know, or you're in a great performing school, but it's in your city. so if i ask you now, what does it take, talk to me about whether or not what it takes is testing. whether or not what it takes is to prove your teachers are teaching something. >> that's the logistical, technical part of education. are we -- are our test scores improving, are our teachers' ratings improving? but that's not what education is about. we're not going to school in order to get an a plus on a test. we're going to school in order to learn. so i think what education officials don't see is that what it takes is more than what they're giving us. >> when you first started
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protesting the idea of testing as the central way of deciding whether or not you were learning something, you were pretty young. you're an eighth grader now, but how old were you when you first said, this testing, this high-stakes testing is wrong? >> i had just turned 11. >> so what at 11 made you say, i'm going to stand up against this? >> i've always felt like people consider children to be dumber and that age has far too much to do with respect and i decided that i'm the one taking the test, i'm the one who sees the test, and while my test scores don't matter to me, they matter to people i care about. so i don't see why i shouldn't speak up as much as anyone else should. >> follow-up on that idea, that the notion of respect, that maybe part of what it takes is hearing from students, because this year in chicago, we heard from students a lot. >> yeah. i'm sure that all students here feel the same about how a lot of adults ignore us, because we're
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a lot younger than them. so providence has done a lot -- so providence student union has done a lot of creative actions to try to break through this adultism. and like the providence student union is a youth-led organizing group that fights to build student power -- >> you guys went zombie this year, right? >> yes. >> tell me about that. >> in the zombie march, imagine almost 100 students dressed up as zombies, torn clothes, makeup, fake blood, the whole shebang, taking over downtown, and shuffling to the department of education. we wanted to send a message that high-stakes tests is sucking out the creativity of our curriculum and turning us into test prep zombies. >> stay right there. i want to come back, more on this notion that education is turning us into zombies rather than into full students who have the capacity to do the amazing things that y'all have been doing and so many of your colleagues have been doing, when we come back.
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but also, let me say that this morning, we're going to show you videos that we received through education nation, from students across the country, using the hashtag, what it takes, to share their views on what is needed for academic success. stay right there. we're just getting started. >> for student success, it takes passion, hard work, and dedication. you really have to be invested and care about what you're learning about. to school, we want them to be explorers - critical thinkers who can make connections and interpretations all their own. that's why nearly every state has chosen to adopt a set of consistent, game-changing standards that will better equip students for college and careers in the global economy. join the nea in supporting the common core state standards and their common-sense implementation. so no matter where they're from, every student will have the chance to succeed. seasonal... doesn't begin to describe it. running a bike shop has it's ups and downs. my cashflow can literally change with the weather.
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welcome back to the 2013 education nation student town hall. now, we've been talking about students raising their voices in protest and speaking out for themselves over the last year. now i want to hear what some of the students in the audience have to say. but hold one second. i want to come back to this question of zombies and the idea
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that education testing was in part turning young people into zombies. so the young people of your program got out and said, hey, we want to have a different way of thinking about education. >> yeah. so after the zombie march, it got a lot of publicity locally and so we decided -- but still, there were adults who were saying, oh, these students are just complaining. they should just stop and take the test. so then we thought, why don't they take the test. so we organized a "take the test" event where we had 50 accomplished adults, lawyers, businessmen, college professors, et cetera, take a portion of the state assessment in rhode island and we were extremely shocked to see that 60% of those adults would not have been able to graduate under rhode island's high-stakes policy. so that really brought to us the
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question, what is this test really measuring? how is it measuring how successful we'll be in life if these adults didn't even pass it. and those are just like two of our events that we've done. and we will keep doing creative actions until we ensure that students have a voice in the education debate. >> i love that. speaking of having a voice, crystal, you've got someone with you there. >> i've got john here from new jersey with a question about funding. >> hello. my name is john lew. last year my town passed a multi-million dollar referendum in order to build a new sports stadium. however, my ap chemistry class last year didn't have enough money to buy chemicals to do laboratory experiments. >> this was an issue in both philadelphia and chicago as well. would one of you like to respond? >> well, in chicago recently, we have a thing called tif funds, which is tax increment financing, so you can pull it out of certain neighborhoods and put it into developing neighborhoods. but we've been using millions of
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dollars to create a new stadium and into the navy pier toour attraction while schools were closed. it's bigger than who gets the money and who doesn't. it's a real attack on the public sector in chicago while increasing the private sector. all across the city, but especially in education. you can see a real privatization. we're bringing in charter schools, we're giving money to navy pier, while at the same time, we can't give kids a basic free public education. >> nora, let me ask you, part of what we've heard here is that student voices need to be heard. what is it in philadelphia that you've learned is an effective way to get student voices heard, whether it's creative direct actions, whether it's actually taking to the streets. what do you think is effective in this way? >> i think that showing that students have voices and letting them decide what to do about the situation. so, in the philadelphia student union, it's completely student led and we organize rallies,
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marches, walkouts to show that students care about their education and that we have the power to do what we need to do. and that's it. >> yeah? and real quick, just for the last one, i want to point out that you had an actual idea of how to deal with the high-stakes testing. not just a can complaint, but an idea. >> my idea i phrased in a letter to james matthew at t"the washington post". i think we should have a three-year moratorium, because we've -- since 2001, when no child left behind passed, we've been testing, testing, testing, and we have shown no improvement on the pisa, nothing. we're just -- we're going down. so i think trying for three years or even one year and then testing could make a big difference. >> so three years, moratorium. look, this is what we teach you in science class. it's a hypothesis. if it makes a different, let's do an experiment. go three years with the moratorium, see whether or not
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it makes a difference and test it with a little bit of empirical evidence. thank you all so much. noah, i'm going to need you to stick around for a little while. up next, the reform that will affect almost every student in this room and in the country. but how much do people really know about it? we're going to get some answers from one of the experts behind the new program being implemented in schools across the nation. >> i'm from metro high school in chicago. i believe that in order for a student to be successful, they must be responsible, determined and be ready to ask questions. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] the new twin turbo xts from cadillac.
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national standards for reading, writing, and path. standards that define what students should be able to do at the end of each grade. 45 states and the district of columbia have adopted the standards. and the new standards have a lot of support. but some detractors say common core is a weak attempt at reform, that will ultimately still rely on high-stakes testing, much like no child left behind. so here to explain common core and response to some of that criticism is david coleman, one of the authors of the standards and the current president and ceo of the college board. also still on stage with us is noah rosenplot, and also still with us is a senior at western ho high. >> the most important thing for you as students to know about the common core is this is a chance to focus on a few things. that evidence shows us really matter for your future.
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in other words, what the common core found when working on the common core, there's evidence from high-performing countries throughout this country that there are a few things, like in math, that really matter for college and career readiness. and teachers and you need time to preach, time to teach, and time to practice. and if you do that hard work of doing a few things well, you will be ready for the challenges that follow you. so for the students in the audience, lighter textbooks that focus on important stuff, would that appeal to you? yes. because we had a teenagers in the audience, i saw a few eyes rolling. so some people thinking that common core is different. it emerges from your own experience of bar mitzvzvamitzv. and the idea that young people can be asked to do very difficult, analytic task. >> the common core at its heart is based on evidence from high-performing countries, but all of us are informed by our
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personal experience. and i was moved by the last panel, where i think it was noah who said, people get confused, that they should respect people just because they're older. and one thing wonderful about a bar mitzvah, as a very young person, 13 years of age, sits in front of their peers and loved ones and reads a shared text and everyone can criticism. because they're all reading the same thing. and the student shows at that moment or the young person their command of that text, they reflect on what it might mean, they use evidence from it to develop an idea. that's a very demanding idea for a young person in front of a lot of people. but if you look at the letter noah wrote, it's that same idea. she had an idea about testing being wrong, but she didn't just convey her personal experience, she analyzed it in writing and did research. it's that kind of work where you make arguments based on evidence or read carefully that's at the heart of the common core. >> eric, i know you've been doing a lot of research about this, because your class is going to be impacted by common
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core. do you have a question for mr. coleman? >> yes, why are the standards so high for common core? >> that's a great question. what you asked is why are they so high for common core? and you know, at the heart of it, today, 40 to 50% of kids leaving high school with a degree, you've done the work, you go into remediation classes in college. so that means you're not ready. when kids enter remediation, they almost never escape. so the standards are high because the demands are high, meaning what you need to be able to do, but the good news is, they're also fewer. it's not that we're just building a big new wall for kids to jump over, but allowing students to concentrate on those few things that ever matter that can get them out of remediation. >> mara, you've got a student? >> this is esther, a sophomore from arizona. what's your question? >> i wanted to know why many states around the country are
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actually backing out about using common core? >> i think the great news -- thanks. i think the great news is that states thus far are not backing out of the common core. some states have made decisions about assessment, for example, and have concerns about that, but what's so surprising in this country, at a time when there's quite a bit of controversy about most domestic policy, you've got a situation where in two separate polls, 80% of teachers support these standards. isn't that interesting? you have republican congressmen and democrats and republican governors and democratic and republican governors working together because they needed to raise standards, because they saw that students weren't ready for jobs, they weren't ready for college and they broke down state lines, broke down partisan lines to work together. i'm more excited by the amount of collaboration that we see in support. >> noah, did you have a question? >> can you answer her question, what's your response to the people backing out? >> what i said was, that actually, no state has yet
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backed out of the standards, so that's the first answer to her question, which is, but my answer to the question of, why is there concern, which i think noah, is what you're trying to ask me. which is this. the first thing i want to tell everyone is that parents have a right, across this country, to wonder about what their kids are learning and care about that. so this is a time when we're focusing on a new set of expectations that actually celebrate fundamentals, like reading carefully and writing, and a core of math. but parents can get concerned. hey, what does this mean for my child? do i have adequate rights? they want to make sure they control their child's privacy, which i totally agree, and we have to ensure that students' data remains their own. i think there are principled concerns, but the good news is, no state has yet withdrawn, to be clear, because the more people look at the standards, they see work worth doing. and while we're in a difficult period of time, there will be increasing support. >> eric wilson, i appreciate you being here, and noah, i
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appreciate you reminding me, sometimes the best panel you ask on a panel is the most direct, the shortest, and the most straight forward. thank you for being here and facing a room that is undoubtedly a tough room. because there is controversy and i think we learned a little something today, but also that students don't feel like they're silenced around common core, that it is the thing that you ought to absolutely be questioning, be taking up, and either be supporting or not based on what you think is right for your education. up next, google executive chairman, eric schmidt joins us. and we're going to take you inside the high school that's gone completely high-tech. this is education nation, student town hall. >> oh, sorry. i didn't see you there. you want to be like me? all it takes is hard work, determination, and practice. my asthma's under control. i don't miss out... you sat out most of our game yesterday!
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>> announcer: welcome back to "education nation: the student town hall." from midtown manhattan, here is melissa harris-perry. >> all right. i've got a question for the room. by a show of hands, who would love to see their schools go completely digital? all right, okay. all right. you may be in luck. across the country, schools are taking steps to make that a reality. but some students in the los angeles unified school district are learning that lesson that with great progress comes great responsibility. last week, some students had their school-issued ipads taken away after officials learned they had hacked the devices. now, while los angeles may currently be a cautionary tale in the case of technology in the classroom, here's an example of one high school in white plains,
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new york, touting the success of tech, where books are a thing of the past, as they've gone 100% digital. take a look. >> when the parents heard we are going to a digital textbook library, they were very mixed. >> at first, i felt like, if we were going to do this, i would feel like the screen was getting in the way of me doing stuff that i would do with a normal book, like highlighting, annotating, taking notes, but after using it, it's actually a lot easier than i thought it was going to be. >> the reason i thought this was a good idea is i saw that it would be a huge cost savings for the students and their families. normally, a book bill would run somewhere between $500 and $700, and you would get five or seven textbooks. instead, now, they can access 40 textbooks for a simple one-time access fee of $150 per year. >> i find it a lot easier, because now, i mean, i can do everything i can, writing down notes, i can do on my laptop and
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i don't have to carry as much books. >> by accessing this digital library, it will make that first year in college that much more comfortable. we're not going to have to spend too much time adjusting. it will feel like we've been doing this our whole life and put us ahead of the game. >> joining me now is eric schmidt, executive chairman of google. welcome, eric. >> thank you. >> so i want to ask you a question about the idea of taking away the -- >> we're going to hire these students. >> right, who hack! right? >> we need more of these sorts of people. >> we need the one who are hacking, not the once who never thought about hacking in. let me ask you this, as we see transitions like this, is it the technology that makes the difference or is it the teachers in the clappssrooms with the technology? >> how about the students? >> tell me about that. >> most of these revolutions are student led. and the best picture ever is the kid that's teaching the parent
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how to use a computer. absolutely always the best image. and this new generation has grown up all digital. i think when i was a student, you knew essentially nothing except what was in the textbook and what your teacher told you. now you can literally know everything. and furthermore, with mutuals, all these collaboration tools that google and other people are offering, you can collaborate, you can learn together, you can have common lesson plans, teachers can experiment in ways they couldn't before. >> let me take this to the students so we can learn something more from them. krystal, you've got a student who has a question. >> i have cindy, a student at the new school. >> hi. i was just wondering, do you think that technology engages students in the classroom or do you think that it distracts them? >> i think a lot of it depends on whether you're bored or not. >> yep. >> and a lot of students are sitting there kind of being slightly bored. so the question is, what do you do when you're bored? i hope that instead of playing games, you're learning the
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things you care about. a lot more education will be individual led, because there's so much you yourself can learn and so many tools that are available to you. the other thing, of course, is there's lots of choices now of how to learn. maybe the best way for you to learn is not to sit there for eight hours bored. maybe what you should do is have a little bit of a lesson, do a little bit of a question, talk to your friends, learn some more, do another lesson and so forth. a lot of evidence that there's new way of learning. >> it raises the bar for those of us who are teachers who are teaching in wired classrooms. we have to be more interesting than e-mail and instagram in order to keep the interest of students. mara? >> i'm here with emily, emily's a senior from new jersey. >> hi. i want to know. although technology in classroom is a great idea, how do you think it will affect those students who can't afford the technology because of their school's lack of funding? >> pretty much everybody has got access to computers of one kind or another. think about all those games computers that everybody has now and so forth. and so the price of computers, tablets, ipads, those sorts of things have fallen so
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dramatically that eventually the price of the computer will be lower than the price of the textbooks. so i think we'll get there. and it's certainly true that schools don't have any money at all, but they do actually buy some things and almost all of them are busy making this digital transition. the big issue is going to be, how does teaching change? do the teachers the accept it? do they resist it? what do the measurements say and on and on. i'm on the board of something called the con economy, which is something you should take a look at. you learn in a completely different way, working with teachers changes everything. >> i want to follow up a little bit on that money question. not so much the digital divide question, but rather, this is a $1 billion program in los angeles, the ipad program. what happens when we create a profit incentive in our schools, so once technology and the ability to sell technologies or to sell standardized tests or any of these things becomes the standards for schools, then there are people who will become wealthy off of selling these things to our schools. doesn't that change the ability
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for us to say that it's good for us. >> the google products we give away for free, never charge for them. i think well-meaning corporations can give this stuff away if they possibly can or at cost. and in the technology industry, the prices are falling so dramatically, that's not going to be an issue. >> you don't think there's a profit incentive associated with moving the technology into all of the schools in the country? >> relatively little. there's relatively little money to be made. there are start-ups that are for-profit that are working on this. and i've looked at some of them. and it doesn't bother me that companies make money doing this, as long as it works, right? the issue is you make money and it doesn't work. what we would pay in this country for corporations to fix their education system and make it easiest for everyone to be brilliant. >> yes, crystal? >> i have sabir here. >> because technology provides a shortcut to students' academic work, how do you feel that by using technology in school, it's
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affecting our analytical thinking and our critical thinking, both in school and in the outside world? >> the first question, when i was your age, i was in virginia and i was required to memorize the names of the counties, of the 50 counties of virginia. and i remember how painful that was and i forgot it immediately after i passed the test. today, i would use google. not that complicated. so hopefully we're taking the routine and the repetitive and relacing it by creative and technologying and entertaining work. furthermore, there's in ways of doing education that are much more gamefied. students will also react to a game where they're competing with each other for a prize and so forth, and that works. but i worry about the loss of deep reading. i'm sure we're reading a lot, we're texting and so forth and so on. but are you taking the hours it takes to read a long and hard book? i suspect we're reducilosing th.
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>> i love your point about having to memorize the 50 states and now you just google it. and i remember having long fights about fact-based things, and now you just google it. i worry about that deep interactions. >> there's many things that humans had to do that computers do better and one thing is memory. so why don't we think creative thinking, critical skills, caring, all the things that humans are particularly good at. computers will always be better at remembering things than we are. >> eric, thank you so much for being here. and i hope at some point google will maybe partner with nerdland to do some of this free technology giveaway. i like that idea. helps to change that profit motivation. up next, from high-tech to basic needs. when students are missing something as simple and as essential as a good meal. for student success, it takes having education as your top priority. being self-motivated, having
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it's the best from glucerna. [ male announcer ] new glucerna advance. from the brand doctors recommend most. advancing nutrition for diabetes. students deal with so many issues at school, hunger should not be one of them. but sadly, it is. in a recent report, three out of five teachers say students regularly come to school hungry. and more than half of teachers say their students rely on school meals as their primary source of nutrition. joining me now are jazir sutton, a 12-year-old, who has experienced going to school hungry, and he is here with his mom, angela sutton, who is vice chair of the program, witnesses to hunger. thank you both for being here. >> thank you for having us. >> jazir, i want to start with you, because i think it's very brave that you're willing to talk to us. tell us, what was it like when you had to go to school hungry?
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how did it affect us? >> i wasn't able to focus on my schoolwork and that kind of affected my report card grades. and it was very frustrating, because it's all i could think of, food, when i went to school, because i wasn't able to eat breakfast at home. >> did you tell your teachers that you were hungry? >> yes, in sixth grade, i told one of my teachers, teacher kathy. she did something about it. >> what did she do? >> when i told her, i didn't ask her to do it, but she did it out of kindness. what she did is, every morning, she would bring in like snacks and chips for the whole class, not just me. >> that part of it being for the whole class, not just for you, how important was that to you? >> it was important to me, because it felt like that she didn't just care about me, she cared about the whole entire class, because she didn't know how many students in the class were going to school hungry. >> jazir, your mom, angela is here. and i want to talk to you, miss
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sutton, because the work you do with witnesses to hunger, i know you know how hard it is for parents to even admit that sometimes their children are hungry. when you made the decision to come and be here with us today, why that decision? >> because a lot of people are ashamed, bashful. they worry about dhs taking their children, saying they're unfit, a lot of stereotypes. and basically, a lot of pride as well, because a lot of people such as myself do work. and unfortunately, you have to take and pay bills and you just don't have any. you have to make sure to maintain a roof over their head, you have to make sure bills are paid, and sometimes to buy food, you have to buy food that's not healthy. so by the end of the month, you're running low, because you just don't have the money to maintain the whole month. >> jahzaire, you said the hardest times when you would
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have sting omething to eat, but mom wouldn't? >> yeah, she would sacrifice for me and my little brother. and sometimes i would try to push her, or try to make something to eat for her, so she could still have something to eat. >> how did that affect you when you were at school? >> it kind of affected me, because also, food is on my mind, but my mom is on my mind, because she's not really eating as much as i am. so it kind of bothered me too. >> in the audience here is joel burg. joel burg is executive director of new york city coalition against hunger. joel, this is a familiar story to you. >> yes, it is, although as you point out, it's very rare for people to be brave enough to come on national television to discuss it. >> yep. what are the policy things that we can do that can affect the lives of young people like jahzaire? >> we could start with living wages, so parents can earn enough to feed their families. we can universal school breakfast and school lunch free in every public classroom in
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america. we heard, we have all this money for stadiums and tax cuts for the rich, we have enough money f for meals. and we can cut these cuts in the s.n.a.p. program. half those benefits go to children. whatever they're describing it as, the truth is, it's a massive cut to working families and kids. >> hold for me one moment. we're going to stay on this issue. but you have a student back there with you. >> i do. i have tamara has a fantastic question. >> what do you do if someone in your school is going hungry but they don't tell anybody and you want to help them zplp do you have a response to that, jahzaire. if somebody is in the school and hungry, is there something that people can do to help? >> if they have a best friend or something, they can always ask, you know, i'm sorry to bother you, but do you have a small snack? >> joel? >> we're working with the no kid hunger campaign to make sure all kids have, for instance,
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universal cool breakfast, so this room is filled with student activists from around the country. you can demand that your school have these breakfasts and they should be provided to all students, paid for entirely by the federal government. >> hold for me. we're going to stay on this topic. i know there are more students in the audience who want to jump in on this. we've been talking ipads, but we also want to talk breakfast. stay with us. we'll take a quick break and come right back with "education nation: student town hall." >> for success, it takes drive, patience, and confidence. drive because there will always be times where you don't think you can pull through and everything's overwhelming. patience because time waits for no man, but you have to work hard day by day. confidence, stick to the goals you have set. all their own. that's why nearly every state has chosen to adopt a set of consistent, game-changing standards that
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we're back with the "education nation: student town hall" and we're talking about hunger and its impact on how students learn. mara, you have a student in the audience with you. >> yeah. i'm here with deane, he's a junior and he has a comment about this topic. >> sometimes it's really not about how much money you have, but the amount of time you have to eat, because you can have all the food in the world, but in my school, if you start zero
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period, that's it, you don't have breakfast. and that's at 7:15. >> i like this idea. this is part of your point then, joel, if we're making breakfast available to everybody, if there's not a stigma associated with wealth, we just say, look, sometimes people are running out without eating and we don't generate that stigma. >> all the data says, to be schooled, you must be fueled. to be well-read, you must be well-fed. so for most of us adults, we structure our whole day around when we eat, but for schools, meals are often an afterthought. in new york city, sometimes lunch is at 9:30 or 10:00 in the morning. it's insane. meals should be the centerpiece of the school day. >> crystal, you have a student? >> i have mika here who has a great suggestion. >> hello, my name is mika and i'm part of an organization called today's students, tomorrow's teachers. and for my suggestion, i just want to suggest that for those who want to, you know, stop this crisis from happening, i would say start with a goal first. that goal can be, you know,
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lower the income status on what you put on the paper for lunch or breakfast and, two, start with the community. because your community is very, very important and they would make stuff happen and broaden your activism to the government. they are different activists that would help you, for example. mary elderman, she's very, very helpful. write to anyone you can. this is a very important crisis. everyone will help you. >> jahzaire, i want to come back to you. we were talking in the break, you're doing much better now and you're in a great school. tell us about the school and what it is you like about it. >> my school is very special. it's called fast charter school. it stands for folk arts, cultural treasures. and basically, what we get to do is we get to learn a special language called mandarin chinese. and it's pretty interesting, because the pronunciation of
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each character is weird in a way, since you're not really like born into it. it's pretty cool, though, to learn. >> i just want to say how much i appreciated talking with jahzaire today in the break and knowing that he is learning mandarin, and your point about we've got to feed our future leaders and i look at him and see great things for you. i want to be sure that we keep feeding him so he can, in fact, achieve. so you guys are doing better now? >> much better. because, like, i advocate for people that don't have a voice. i had to come out and speak up for people, because not only for myself and for others, because it's a stigmatism on you not being able to feed your children. it's not that he doesn't have food now, it's just that he runs out for the bus, he gets up at 5:00 every morning, the first person to get on the bus at 6:00. i have to have him outside at 6:00 a.m. every morning so he can be on the school bus, just to go to a better school, because the public school system
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is failing. the school system is horrible. there's no good education. and if our future is going to survive and thrive, i have to be able to make sure he's going to survive in this society, just based off of education alone. >> and to being willing to do that for your son and to be a voice for so many, we greatly appreciate it. thank you to jahzaire and angela sutton and joel burg. and coming up next, the new reality of what it means to be safe in school in a post-newtown world. plus, a look at how other countries stack up to u.s. schools. we'll talk to some students who found out firsthand. our "education nation: student town hall" continues at the top of the hour. [ male announcer ] pepcid® presents: the burns family bbq.
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>> announcer: welcome back to the "education nation: student town hall." here again is melissa harris-perry. >> welcome back, everyone. we turn now to a somber topic. this is the first "education nation: student town hall" since a school shooting at sandy hook elementary in newtown, connecticut, took the live of 21 students plus 6 teachers and administrators. >> we're following breaking news right now. >> the shooting at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. >> tragedy at sandy hook elementary. an unthinkable attack on young children. >> i was in the gym and i heard a loud -- well, i heard like seven loud booms. >> there were parents everyone, obviously, just trying to get to their children, make sure they were okay. >> investigators say the gunman was a 20-year-old who lived in the area, adam lanza. >> inside the school, police found the shooter dead. >> the weapons used in the shooting were all legally purchased and were registered to the gunman's mother. an emotional president obama
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addressed the nation this afternoon from the white house. >> we've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. and we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. >> exactly one week after 20 chirp and six adults were massacred by a gunman in their school, the nra demands armed guards be deployed to every school in this country by january. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. >> and right there, you have it. a huge piece of what the debate over gun rights and gun safety has been about is school safety. it's a hard question. is armed personnel the answer to violence in our schools? the department of justice announced it plans to provide $125 million in grants to schools nationwide, including $45 million for 356 new school resource officer positions,
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inside school buildings. all as part of a community-oriented policing program. the justice department is also providing funds to pay for two school safety officers in newtown, connecticut, schools. but do these measures truly make students feel safe at school? i'm joined now by chicago state university student, dennis johnson, of the black youth project. barnard college student and authority, tiffany, ross floyd, co-founder of the chicago student's union, and israel munoz, who is also a co-founder of the chicago's student union. thank you all for being here. dennis, i want to start with you. do you agree there with mr. lapierre that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun? >> an eye for an eye makes you blind. you don't respond to violence with violence, and you don't put more police officers in a school. it's bad enough when you walk into a school now, it feels like you're walking through the cook county jail.
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if it's cold, that line to get in the school, will be out the door. so no, i don't agree. the any of you have friends have guns or arm themselves to feel safe? >> no, not at all. >> so this notion that the gun is the solution is not true? >> not at all. >> so what makes you feel safe at school? >> personally, my school is not so much an education environment, it's more like a prison environment, like dennis said. i have a clear plastic backpack, i have to put it on a conveyor belt, walk through a metal detector, get searched, all of that. and that in itself does not make me feel safe in school, even though it is a safety measure, it makes me feel like i'm going into a prison rather than somewhere that i should love to be, somewhere like a school.
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that precaution does not even give you a sense of safety. >> when you start talking about metal detector and that kind of thing, the newtown shooting is very different than the kind of violence that's impacted the chicago schools over the course of the past few years. is there a different way we ought to be thinking about that notion of safety at school? >> i think when look at the newtown situation, you have to ask, why did it happen? and what you see is, you have, in many times, these situations, students who have mental problems or social problems or adults who have these problems. and they have no chance to get help. in america, we're closing down our mental health institutions, and these people who need help have nowhere to go. and when people who need help can't get it, tragedies like this happen. and so you have to start looking at solutions. and that's funding our mental health clinics, getting every student a good education, so they don't need to do this, and giving every person a purpose. when you have people with no purpose in life, they have -- they tend to do tragedies and their lives just spiral
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downhill. >> tiffany, you've made some interesting connections in your work between gun violence and actually school wlbullying, whi is a slagtly different way of thinking about being safe at school. >> i think one of the main things is of course, students have to feel safe physically, but also emotionally. and i think in schools, if we first solve the problem of every student feeling emotionally safe and comfortable, then perhaps we can even prevent from anyone even having a mental problem or having anger that they feel like they have to release through violence. >> one of the things we've been talking about all morning is this idea of student voices is and student solutions. and the work that the black youth project does is about giving opportunities for young people to offer their solutions. what are the school safety solutions that the young folks have been coming up with? >> the black youth project is a coalition of 100 activists from around the country. we come from an area where in
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chicago, d.c., north carolina, even the bay area, and what we do is we listen to the youth. that's the first thing you need to do. a lot of times when they make decisions about violence, they don't listen to the youth, ander with youth. one of the things we try to do, we find out what's the root of the problem in systemic violence. it's systemic violence. when you wake up in the morning, especially in an urban community, with lack of resources, you get blue juice, sugar water, hot cheetos, that's already got you running. it's not a nutritious meal. you walk into a school, bad enough, you go through the metal detectors. we're challenging issues like that. and then once you're in there, dependent on your teacher or her attitude. and you can't sit down while you're in class, you're jumping and you're moving and they say, oh, he has adhd or you have some type of mental disease, so they diagnose you and drug you up. we need to step up. you are not the future, your time is now. the decisions you make now will
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determine your future, so don't wait. with your cell phone, you can call into a congressman's office. keep calling. you lock it down. if you've got to sit outside and lay down in the street, you got to do what you got to do. and don't be scared. think about it. you're going through now is what your kids are going to go through. >> we're going to stay on exactly this topic when we come back. >> for student success, it takes passion and determination. you need passion not only in high school or college, but you need your future as well and you need determination to drive yourself forward. [ horn honks ] [ passenger ] airport, please. what airline? united. [ indian accent ] which airline, sir? [ passenger ] united. whoa taxi! [ british accent ] what airline, then? [ passenger ] united. all right. [ spanish ] what airline? [ passenger ] united. ♪ [ mandarin ] which airline? [ passenger ] united. [ arabic ] which airline? [ passenger ] united. [ italian ] where are we going? [ passenger ] united. [ male announcer ] more destinations than any other airline. [ thai ] which airline do you fly?
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welcome back to the education nation student town hall. we are talking about the issue of safety in schools. mara, you've got a student with you? >> i'm here with amina. she's a junior at a newark public school and she feels
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safer with armed guards in school. tell me about that. >> in my school, we have three officers and multiple security guards. in the morning we have a check where we go through the metal detectors and the security guards check our bags. i feel safe in our school, because my community, there's been a lot of killings and once you're in school from 8:35 to 2:40, that's where my safe -- that's where i feel safe at. and outside of my community, i feel unsafe, because of so much killings that's been going on. >> any of you guys have a response to that idea that actually for mina, those guards make her feel safer. >> i do understand that, in fact, but i also wonder how there are certain kids in the school who emotionally, going back to that, don't feel safe. now, with guards, you do prevent people from coming into the school, but what about the kids that are, in fact, inside the school that don't feel safe because of their peers bullying them and making them feel like
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they don't belong there, in fact. >> i also would like to add to that. oftentimes in schools, in other parts of chicago, primarily the south side, there are instances where the police officers and security guards are actually abusing the students. so how does that -- these people are there to protect us, but rather, they're damaging the school, they're damaging the environment. and that truly is not safety. >> crystal, you have a student? >> yes, i have jordan here. he's also from the city of newark, and he is the student representative on the newark advisory board, so representing 40,000 newark students. >> so going to school in newark, you get the sense that newark public schools are taking a number of issues, they have a number of resources available to try to increase student safety and create a climate where students feel they are safe and they don't have to worry about their health. they can focus on their studies. but there's a number of concerns. you have to worry about, are you going to get robbed or jumped?
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should i wear these sneakers after school. if i walk out, are they going to get stolen from me? it's a really overwhelming experience, because now you have to worry about what's going on outside the building. you have to worry about the robberies, but you also have to worry about the hazards inside the building with metal detectors and your book bag being searched and guards. it just goes to show that safety is such a central concern. because although there is technology and resources available, and that's important too, it's just such an overwhelming experience that sometimes it's difficult to take advantage of all of that when your health is constantly on your mind. >> jordan, i want to ask you a real quick follow-up on that. i know that you actually talk to students in schools across newark. do they have solutions? have you heard one or two that you'd say, this is the kind of thing we need to be implementing? >> just more security, but not in the building. because that -- you almost get a feeling of victimization -- not victimization, i'm sorry -- criminalization when you have so many armed guards and security and guards in the building. you almost get the feeling of, wait a minute, i'm the victim here. i need to worry about my health
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and not what's going on with me and what i have in my book bag. so a number of concerns have been brought up about increasing security outside the building. that's where the majority of things go on. in one week, i had two of my friends and my brother actually got robbed right outside the school building. their idea tends to be armed guards outside the building. >> mara, you are with a student who was in a very similar circumstance very recently. >> you recently witnessed a shooting on your way home from school, is that correct? >> yes. i was coming home from school and i was on a bus and i got off and like as soon as i got off, there was shooting. and it's like, it's not the first time that has ever happened in my neighborhood, but it just doesn't make me feel safe to come and go to school, because i feel like at any given moment, my life can be taken away, and the nypd won't have any justice because they're never around. >> and this is not an isolated. krystal, you're standing there with a student with a not
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dissimilar story. >> i have mahlon here. >> hello. my name is mahlon. and considering the fact that in new york city schools, bullying is become a socially accepted norm, what can schools do specifically in order to prevent that? >> well, i know for a fact in my school, when there was a problem with bullying, a lot of the principals or whoever was in charge would almost kind of blame everyone. so i think that was one of the main problems and what at least i tried doing was really finding ways to spread awareness and tell parents that, you know, what, this is actually going on with their kids. how they can talk to their kids without their kids feeling like, oh, my god, like, i feel like i'm being interrogated by my own parents. so it's really building trust between the school, between parents, between students. and building that safety and that you can actually talk about, hey, i feel like i'm being bullied in this situation
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and i don't feel safe in school, i can't concentrate. and having the feeling that you can actually talk to someone in your school and talk to your parents. i think that's one of the main things schools need to focus on is building that trust. >> and speaking of building trust, i want to go back. krystal, i know you have one other student there who's got a story very similar to the story we heard earlier. >> i do. >> yeah, well, i go to information technology high school and my school had an innocent where another -- a rival school, i guess you can say, came to our school and didn't care who they could have hurt. they just came with knifes and bats and stuff with intentions to hurt people. but actually, i would like to say that the police and our school reacted really well to it, to the point where in a matter of seconds, it was -- in a matter of minutes, actually, it was pretty much over with and nobody actually got hurt. but the risk was still there. so i think they handled it pretty well. >> so at this point, we've heard story of actually witnessing shootings, of being threatened with -- both within your own school and the context of
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bullying, but also in this case, of a rival school coming. is there -- and we are almost out of time here, but is there one thing that we need to take away from this sense of insecurities in schools, that is beyond the question of armed guards for generating safety or a sense of security? >> it's a tough question. >> i think there's a correlation between when we've been talking about the criminalization in schools and the bullying in schools. we can either stop violence by having external solutions, but that creates more of a sense of, i'm a criminal, i'm going here because i'm a criminal, this is an unsafe environment. or we can tray to change the attitudes of the children. we can make it a safe, emotional place for them to go and feel safe. and if we can change the environment, not through armed guards, but by having a sense of camaraderie and having a sense of safety, i think many of these violent acts will stop. >> my thanks to dennis, tiffany, ross, and israel. up next, a bold new look at how education in other countries compares to the u.s. we're going to hear from students who saw the difference firsthand.
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>> hi, my name is tyler martin. i go to kinwood academy in chicago. for students who say it takes cooperation, there has to be a system of trust and teamwork. thank. you. [ woman #1 ] why do i cook? ♪ because an empty pan is a blank canvas. ♪ [ woman #2 ] to share a moment. ♪ [ man #1 ] to remember my grandmother. [ woman #3 ] to show my love. ♪ [ woman #4 ] because life needs flavor. ♪ [ woman #5 ] to travel the world without leaving home. [ male announcer ] whatever the reason. whatever the dish. make it delicious with swanson. [ woman #1 ] that's why i cook. ♪ 'take me home...' ♪ 'i'll be gone...'
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you probably heard that american students score lower on international standardized tests than students in many other developed countries. in 2009, american 15-year-olds ranked 14th in reading, 17th in math, and 25th in math out of 34 industrialized countries. what we don't often hear is why. why do students in other countries appear to be doing better? the search for answers, journalist amanda ripley followed three american high school students as they studied in finland, south korea, and
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poland. the result is her new book, "the smartest kids in the world and how they got that way." and joining us now are two of the students who are featured in that book, eric covon and kim pate. thank you for being here. kim, where did you study during your year abroad? >> i spent ten months in finland. >> and what was your experience in finland and in the schools there like? >> it was very, very different. it was very lecture-based as far as classes were. also, all the teachers were very engaged with the students. there was a much more effective back and forth than i saw in american classrooms. >> so on the one hand, you say it's lecture based, but then you tell me there is more effective back and forth. so how do those two things work together? >> it wasn't a lecture as if you're sitting in the back of the room and this dull teacher is just droning on about world war i. first of all, you address teachers by their first name, which threw me out of my chair, was it was asking questions, it was engagement, and also, it's harder for students to zone out,
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as opposed to, you know, when they're just assigned busy work. they had to be engaged to keep up with the material. >> so that's one model. your model, your abroad experience was really quite different. where did you study? >> i studied for a year in south korea and the korean model is very much focused on rigor. there is a lecture-based system, as there is in finland, but unlike finland, it is very much a one-way from teacher to student. there is almost no back and forth, even in classes in english. the most a student will be asked to do is perhaps recite a line from an english novel rather than converse in english. >> yet, there was hours and hours of studying that was going on after the regular school hours. >> that's right, the private schools, parents pay exorbitant amounts of money to send their students so they can keep up in public schools. >> so the measures here are measures of, when we say the smartest kids in the world, these are measures on standardized tests, do you feel like there was something in your
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experience that you bring back and you say, we ought to implement this in american public schools? >> i would definitely say that. in korea, the way that they approach mathematics is brilliant. they don't allow the use of calculators until very, very advanced mathematics, almost calculus. instead, students are expected to compute and use numbers in their head, which allows them a much more concrete grasp on what they're doing. they lose themselves far harder than we do in mathematics, because they have a better grasp on it mentally. >> interesting. i want to go to crystal, who is there with arianna. arianna, you go to one of the best schools in the country? >> yes, actually. internationally ranked, we took the pisa exam a year or two ago and we were number one in the world. our school has a 100% -- 100% of its graduates go to college, every single one, whether they take a gap year or not, we all go to college. and i truly believe it's because
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of our college counseling classes. we all are required -- it's almost a core class to take. it's college counseling. they show us scholarship opportunities, they help us with essays, they show us the process for many of the college applications, because it's deferent for a lot of people, though it's similar in some ways. and i really think that they raise the bar and they expect you to go to college, whereas other schools don't necessarily give you that support, that class. those scholarship explanations. >> that would make a difference. let me ask you, one of the biggest things that the author of the book, amanda, takes from t stories of your studies abroad is that school needs to be harder. what do you make of that? do you think school in the u.s. just needs to be harder?
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>> i think it needs to be done in a really thoughtful way instead of trying to shove more at students, it needs to be done more thoughtfully, not just harder content, but how are we delivering the content as well? like, why are we needing to repeat things year after year after year. why can't we learn this and move on to the next thing. >> you have a student teacher with you out there, mara. >> mia is a college student herself, but also teaches high school students. >> what i talk to a lot of my students about is some of them don't want to go to college at all or at least maybe not right away, so something i've been thinking about and wondering about is how can we engage they will in a curriculum that is centered around college readiness and still prepare them for a life after college if that's not what they're interested in. >> any lessons from abroad on this question of how do we keep students excited in assuming a college future? >> in korea, they keep them engaged almost by threat of a future. in korea, everything depends on
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this one test, the korean s.a.t., it's very different from our s.a.t., the american s.a.t. really, it determines your future in that it determines what university you go to. if you get into a good university with a good korean s.a.t. score, you have a fine future, you make good social connections, you have a secure job. so they really understand the importance of university as it relates to our future. >> of course, that also flies in the face of some of the critiques we've been hearing earlier about the notion of high-stakes testing. that is the very definition of high-stakes testing. >> almost too high-stakes. >> eric, thanks. kim, you'll come back in in a bit. but up next, we'll catch up with one of our favorite people we met last year. she went from homeless shelters to the ivy league. she joins us live with the latest on her new life. >> for student success, it takes being unique and creative. heart healthy, huh?!
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>> announcer: welcome back to the education nation student town hall. once again is melissa harris-perry. >> last year at the student town hall, we introduced you to a remarkable high school graduate who overcame every obstacle in her path and received a full ride to columbia university. ebony boykin spent much of her childhood in and out of homeless shelters, but was never swayed from her goal of attending an ivy league school. she's now completed her first year at columbia and is off to a running start on her second. we wanted to bring you an update. >> literally, every day i ask myself, like, what am i doing here? it's just so amazing to think, just how i grew up and now i'm here and it never really ceases to amaze me, like, where i am. and it never really sinks in. growing up, i had a really hard
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time. my mom was single, it was me and my younger siblings, so we ended up bouncing around to different homeless shelters and just living with different people and it was really unstable environment growi ining up. and we just really struggled a lot with having money and having food. so coming to columbia has been a huge change, because of course i never wonder where my next meal is coming from or things like that. it's been a stark change. this is where i read for class, mostly. when i started here at columbia, i didn't feel prepared at all, at least not by my high school. and my first semester was sort of tumultuous in that way. there was just a lot going on and i felt sort of overwhelmed and really small in comparison to everything that was happening in my life. as time within the on, i found friend groups and activities to get into and i started to get the hang of my work. now i'm in a better, more secure place. i don't have to bother my mom with, you know, my expenses. i'm sort of in a place where i have the opportunity to take
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care of myself. i'm absolutely determined to finish what i started by coming here and i've wanted this for such a long period of time, that it just wouldn't make any sense not to finish. what surprised me most about college is that how different it is from the way people interpret it on tv. i think people always think college, woo, party, but i haven't had much time for that. i don't have time to eat or sleep sometimes, so i think college is just a lot harder than people let on, i think. >> that's right. college is a lot of work, but it's worth it. joining me now is the extraordinary ebony boykin herself. so ebony, not only are you doing all the hard work that is college, you're also doing activities, you're also working for pay. how do you balance it all? >> it's hard. you learn time management as time goes on.
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i mean, there are going to be many times where you miss somethings or you oversleep, but eventually you find your stride and find out how much time to aslot for different things, and once you start to get the hang of everything, it feels good to be balancing everything. >> you told me a little bit earlier that you're starting film studies. tell me about that decision? >> i've loved for a long time and i figured it's in the general direction of what i want to do with my life and tv journalism. >> so tell me, you want to be a tv journalist? that's something you've talked to me about before? >> yes, yes. >> so last time you were here, i said, come do an internship with mhp. i absolutely meant it and i know we had a little time finding housing this year. do you think you might be able to make this year? >> yeah, i think we can swing it. >> we want you to hang out with us at nerdland all summer. >> thank you. >> so nice to have had you here again and so thrilled a about how well you're doing at columbia. and the issue that even has the white house worried, the cost of higher education, when we come back.
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>> hello. i currently live in chicago, but i think what it takes to be a successful student is guidance. [ female announcer ] we lowered her fever. you raise her spirits. we tackled your shoulder pain. you make him rookie of the year. we took care of your cold symptoms. you take him on an adventure. tylenol® has been the number 1 doctor recommended brand of pain reliever for over 20 years. but for everything we do, we know you do so much more. tylenol®. but for everything we do, we know you do so much more. customer erin swenson ordebut they didn't fit.line customer's not happy, i'm not happy. sales go down, i'm not happy. merch comes back, i'm not happy. use ups. they make returns easy. unhappy customer becomes happy customer. then, repeat customer.
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i never really thought i would make money doing what i love. [ robert ] we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams. go to today and make your business dream a reality. at we put the law on your side. according to the white house, over the last three decades, the average tuition at a four-year college has ballooned by more than 250%. today, students hoping to attend a four-year college expect to shell out a minimum of $17,860 a year. that's the average for tuition, fees, room and board, at a public four-year college for in-state students. and the cost only goes up from there. more than $30,000 a year for out of state students attending a public school and almost $40,000 a year for a private four-year
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college. for nearly two-thirds of bachelors' degree recipients, paying for all that education means taking out loans, which means the average borrower will graduate with a degree and $26,000 in debt. don't cry. joining me here on the stage is travis reginald, a sophomore at yale university. kim pate, a high school senior from oklahoma, who spent her sophomore year studying abroad in finland. zack mollamed, a sophomore at the university of maryland and founder and executive director of student voice, and sophia, a 2013 graduate of the university of massachusetts and president of the united states' students association. thank you all for being here. i want to start with you, because your story is an interesting one and one that i remember well from college, where you start out with a full scholarship in your first year, and then a gap starts to grow each year. talk to me about that. >> oh, yes. it also comes with like rising
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tuition costs and calculating your estimated need for the school year. and so what happens each year, the student contribution increases is, so for sophomores, it's over $1,000 additional from freshman year. and so that kind of can be an issue. like, okay, this is supposed to be coming there like your summer savings. and the freshman amount is like more reasonable, but unless you're having some job, like in financing or something, where people make $18,000 in the summer, and let you do that, it's not really feasible. even if you work full-time as a student, people calculate, you're not going to make those, an amount that they want. >> at this point, sophia, i wonder how often a decision about money and a concern about the question of how to pay for college impacts the decisions that students make about where they apply and where they end up matriculating. >> absolutely. and we see that students right now are graduating with more and more levels of debt and i think
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that's something else that goes into consideration. we know that attending a public college or a public university is not as affordable as it used to be. and it's really a shame, because states are divesting, the federal government is divesting from higher education. and it should be a right, it should be a public good, and something that's accessible to all. >> this is one of the reasons that the cost of education goes up, for students, is in part because there's less, sort of dollars coming in from the state. now, you are at this moment applying to colleges. how much are you considering cost of college in your decision? >> one of the first pages i go when i go on the websites is the tuition, how much student aid do that give? how much of that can i expect? if it's very little, there's no point in me looking at the school and getting excited if i know it's not going to be a feasible option. >> how much does the ability to take loans affect that? if you're like, well, it's expensive, but i'm willing to take out the loans, is it just about how risk averse a student
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is? >> i would make the case that going to school at the worst time you could have possibly ever gone to school because of the value of school. the value diminishing, and when even i consider taking out loans, that wasn't enough for me to make the decision as to whether or not i should actually go to that school or whether or not i should stay in school. it's a tough decision, because, you know, we look at job opportunities today and they aren't there. the value is just not there and the return is not there. >> sorry, i would disagree with you a little bit about the idea that the value of a college education has increased because at this moment, there's a gap for those who actually finished that degree. >> there are plenty of students. research shows that students who go to school are more likely to get a job. undoubtedly, that's the case, but at the same time, there aren't enough jobs out there for everyone. so is college the right decision for everyone? for me, i think i might be an n inspiring entrepreneur. so the school really for me? that's the question i keep asking myself.
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and is school for only social science students, or is it focused on, if i wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor, of course i need to go to school. but for an entrepreneur? it's a question we have to ask ourselves. >> let me ask that question out in the audience. we have allison here. mara, what do you have? >> allison is a freshman at howard university and you did make that decision to go to that school because of the a you got. >> i got a full scholarship and without that scholarship, i would not have been able to go to college or howard specifically. my concern is the 400 students at howard who did not return last year because they were not able the to afford it. the students coming from underprivileged backgrounds and underprivileged communities are basically forced to take out lobes or forego college, which will create some type of revolving door that forces students back into these communities. >> we have a lot on the table here. the question of whether or not college is still worth it or how
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we pay for it. >> i've got sophia with a question about undocumented students. >> i'm an scoe scholar. my question is, there are many undocumented students who are always striving to get a better education. what are we doing, what are the opportunities the that we're providing for them to help them financially? because most of them just stop after high school, because they cannot afford it. their families cannot help or get the amount of loans that they need to help them. >> sophia, i'll throw this to you. >> absolutely. all across the country, there are a lot of state-level fights that are happening around tuition equity for undocumented students, particularly with the u.s. student association, we've partnered with united we dream and their affiliates are working in states like connecticut and new jersey, california, wisconsin, washington, right? and we know that, like, again, we believe education is a right. and so we really believe that undocumented students should be able to access in-state tuition, and furthermore, should be able to access grants and
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similarships to help fund their education, because we believe that they deserve to go to college just as much as i do. >> mara? >> -- at nyu and she has a question about the cost of college test prep. >> so college test prep is rather expensive. so how could college board and sort of a.c.t. testing promote fair testing standards when there are kids from higher socioeconomic backgrounds who can pay for testing or tutoring that can range from a test prep book that can range from $80 from test tutoring that can cost in upwards of $4,000. >> this is a fabulous question. do you want to take this one? >> i would say that i don't think you necessarily need all of these things that she's talking about. like, this expensive test prep. it's something that someone made a market for. like how technology is coming into play, there's so much information online, so many free resources.
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and people who's giving away free s.a.t. and a.c.t. prep books that really helps you chief the same scores as those students who have additional practice. >> it is a essential question about the fairness of standards. if our s.a.t.s and a.c.t. scores are more correlated with family income than college. >> this is corwin and he is himself a future educator studying at cambridge university. >> my question is, as i finish my bachelor's degree and i'm already thinking about grad school and hopefully want to get my ph.d, i'm thinking about the large amounts of debts that i'm going to be having. and knowing that teachers' salaries are not that much, what should we be doing? it almost makes me question, should i go into this field, knowing that i'm going to be saddled with so much debt? >> well, i am still paying off my student loans. i don't really know what to tell you. but what i will say is this. you know, one of the things that we will undoubtedly have to continue to address is the
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question, the affordability of question and the affordability of graduate school beyond it. but in the meantime, your point about being an entrepreneur, i guess the one thing i would say is, i do the work they love and i'm extraordinarily blessed to be able to be in a position that when i am in the classroom, i am doing the work that i love that honestly, and i probably shouldn't say this on-air, but i would probably do it for free. and i certainly would do it for not much pay in the classroom, as do most teachers. so i guess one of the things i would say is, we've got to not -- even as we make that decision, we also have to recognize, we have but one life. and often, that life, the value of it, can't quite be measured in the issue of debt. stay with us. we're going to be right back. there is going to be more from our audience at the 2013 education nation student town hall. ♪ [ male announcer ] maybe you've already heard what they're saying about the nissan altima.
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all their own. that's why nearly every state has chosen to adopt a set of consistent, game-changing standards that will better equip students for college and careers in the global economy. join the nea in supporting the common core state standards and their common-sense implementation. so no matter where they're from, every student will have the chance to succeed.
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we're back at the education nation student town hall talking about something that's got the room a little bit lit up, affordability of college. krystal, you have somebody with you. >> i have anita with some other concerns. >> my name is anita. i feel like some people don't go to college because they feel they need to support their family. like, i have a friend who lives with a single parent, and she just lost her job. so he feels the need that he should get a job in order to help her, so he can't afford missing, like, four years to go to college. >> this is a critically important. do you run into this? >> absolutely. we've seen more and more that nontraditional students are going to community college. one thing that really supports families when they make the decision to pursue higher education is their childcare services offered by my college or my university. we really need to invest in those programs and make sure those programs are offered. >> mara? >> i'm here with jacob. he's a senior from connecticut.
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he's also a canadian and british citizen. >> my question is, as someone born abroad, what are the factors driving the relatively high cost of a college education in the u.s. versus other countries? >> we know internationally the cost of education is growing up in many places, including in great britain where we've seen big protests. one of the central factors here in the u.s. has to do with the divestment of the states from the state institutions. they're now making up larger gaps. the other piece of it had to do with that economic downturn in 2008, which for many universities meant the money that was being given to them that they were investing lost its value. now tuition paying a units, ie students, are making up that difference. krystal? >> i have latifah here with another question on affordabili affordability. >> how can we stop tuition hikes? what with families do with kids who want to go to college but have no way to afford it? >> that's a great question. how did you end up at yale when you come from a family that
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couldn't afford it? why did you apply anyway? >> my thing is because my mother is very candid about our economic situation. she was always like, you know, do good in school to get a scholarship or something because it's the only way you can really pay for it. i was very fortunate to find out that places such as yale offer this need-based financial aid. it covers essentially everything. i guess just fortunate they expanded the opportunity to low-income students. that was always my viewpoint that i was going to go to a place where they covered a substantial amount. >> mara, you have a student making a slightly different choice. >> yes, john is in the very enviable position of going to college for free. how did you make that happen? >> so twice a week i go to my local community college and take calculus courses. these are completely free. i'm still a high school senior, and my high school pays for all of it.
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in fact, these courses are extremely cheap too. they only cost $100 per credit. my question to you is, why don't we promote such methods in order to lower the cost of tuition for students? >> there's an entrepreneurial answer to the question of how to lower the cost of education. >> yeah, you know, in our conversations we run many digital conversations through twitter chats. a lot of students are really excited about pursuing those routes. it's a lot of work, but the opportunity is awesome. it really provides, you know, a great opportunity for these students to pursue higher education before they even go there and figure out what is the best route for them to go in. that higher ed learning experience is very different from your high school learning experience but something that every student really values. >> travis, kim, zach, and sophia, thanks so much. now, i want top thank all of the guests who have appeared both on the stage today and in the audience. also, to krystal ball and mara schiavocampo. thanks to both of you for your help today. also, thanks for being part of education nation's student town hall. also, thank you to the new york
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public library for this stunning space. listen, what i will say is we only just put the questions on the table. we got a chance to hear from some extraordinary young people as they spoke for themselves. but we do not have all the answers. we assume those answers are going to come from you, from young people around the world, around the country, sitting in front of your probably iphones right now even as you're sitting in front of the television. so we want you to visit the website to continue to make your voices heard, so submit your videos like the ones you saw today in the show and to let everyone know what it really takes for student success. let us know what it takes. also, use the twitter hash tag #whatittakes. also, #nerdland. also, stay with msnbc. up next, brian williams, anchor and managing editor of "nightly
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news" moderates the fourth annual teacher town hall. i'm melissa harris-perry. thank you for joining us. [ mixer whirring ] my turn daddy, my turn! hold it steady now. i know daddy. [ dad ] oh boy, fasten your seatbelts everybody. [ mixer whirring ] bounty select-a-size. it's the smaller powerful sheet, that acts like a big sheet. look! one select-a-size sheet of bounty is 50% more absorbent than a full size sheet of the leading ordinary brand. [ humming ] [ dad ] use less with the small but powerful picker upper. bounty select-a-size. and try bounty napkins. bounty select-a-size. so i can reach ally bank 24/7, but there ar24/7.branches? i'm sorry, i'm just really reluctant to try new things. really? what's wrong with trying new things? look! mommy's new vacuum! (cat screech) you feel that in your muscles? i do... drink water.
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it's a long story. well, not having branches let's us give you great rates and service. i'd like that. a new way to bank. a better way to save. ally bank. your money needs an ally. the united states faces a challenge in math and science education. one that could threaten our competitiveness and economic growth. at exxonmobil we're used to tough challenges and we cannot ignore this one. after all, we're a company of 18,000 scientists and engineers. we depend on well- trained people in order to innovate and compete. that's why we're supporting programs that are meeting this challenge. some of the organizations invest in teachers. for example, the national math and science initiative's uteach program is on track to train 10,000 specialized math and science teachers in this decade.
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the mickelson exxonmobil teachers academy has created deep learnin experiences for 4,000 elementary school math and science teachers. and the sally ride science academy has shown more than 8,500 teachers and counselors how to inspire students' interest in science. we also support programs that motivate and encourage students. every year exxonmobil bernard harris summer science camps get 800 underrepresented students excited about the possibilities of math and science. and the national math and science initiative is helping high school students improve performance on ap exams by 184%. these and other programs show impressive promise. students and teachers are making real progress. and a national conversation is underway. we're glad to do our part. but there's much more that needs to be done. exxonmobil is proud to sponsor education nation's teacher town hall.
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let's prepare today's kids for tomorrow's jobs. join exxonmobil in advancing math and science education at exxonmobil dot com slash let's solve this. for america's teachers, it is a time of sweeping change with new standards across 45 states. and new standardized testing on the way. there have been protests and cut backs -- >> our students are not seats or dollars. they're our future. >> and of course politics. >> i am strongly, strongly against common core. >> but through it all, it's america's teachers who are called on to get the job done. today in our fourth annual teacher town hall, teachers get their chance to speak up on what it takes to create success for our kids and how all


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